It’s been 5 years since our last visit to Wadi Rum – we’ve been living in Jordan nearly 3 years now and kept meaning to make a return trip. So when my sister came to visit us in May, we knew it was time.
The first time we went, we were a bit short on cash after a rather extravagant boat trip down the Nile River. So, our accommodations were a bit more basic. This time, we went glamping to the max. Unsurprisingly, I came across our new accommodations via Instagram and Memories Aicha Luxury Camp did NOT disappoint.
Initially, we had planned to stay for two nights, but their domes were fully booked the week we were on vacation, with the exception of the first night – so we snagged the last one as quickly as we could. It’s hard to find a camp in Wadi Rum with a “bad” location, the protected area is stunning. But Aicha Camp seemed especially well situated.
Only a 15-20 minute drive from the town (this would prove useful later!), the camp is tucked into one of the canyons. You can climb the canyon itself for views above the camp, but I chose to climb the dunes out front of the camp for the photos above.
The rooms are certainly luxurious – our last stay had communal bathrooms, so we were thrilled to have a shower and toilet en-suite. The domes are decidedly opulent, with chandeliers, floor-to-ceiling windows, and wrap-around decks. The bedding was the only part of the room that looked dated. And did I mention the views?
The last time we were in Wadi Rum, it was a cloudy night and we couldn’t see many stars. This time, we saw hundreds of stars while snuggling in bed. Poor Brittany, my sister, always gets the short end of the stick on these trips and she was on the pull-out couch. Same great views, minus some of the comfort!
We arrived around 4pm and didn’t do much besides wander the grounds and nearby dunes for some photos.
If you look at the sky (and the wind in the final photo) you get some foreshadowing of the coming weather. But that first night was fairly calm and after dinner (the only mediocre aspect of this luxury camp) we spent all evening chatting and star gazing.
The next day we had booked a 5-hour jeep tour. Others opt to walk or ride camels, but we had a lot of ground to cover and jeeps are the only way to do it efficiently! The camp is fantastic when it comes to tours – they’re all private and each driver knows the basic history of each stop – this isn’t too surprising as only Bedouins are legally allowed to drive in Wadi Rum.
Our driver was definitely still a kid – late teens or early twenties, but what he lacked in information, we remembered from our previous visit. He had a route to follow and we were at our leisure.
Our first stop was the red sand dunes. This was where we had ended our tour 5 years prior, so it felt like picking up where we left off. We had the dunes nearly to ourselves – only sharing with one other visitor who had unfortunately brought his drone with him – but by the time we were climbing back down, over a dozen others had arrived, so clearly our 8:00am start time was spot on!
Our second stop was the Khazali Canyon. Inside the fissure, you can find South Safaitic, Thamudic, and Kufic (Islamic) inscriptions, as well petroglyphs depicting humans, animals, and footprints. Some of these are easier to find than others, but the canyon itself is lovely.
Next we did something totally new for us – Little Bridge. I guess it wasn’t included on our previous tour, but I’m glad we made the stop this time. Aptly named, it’s much smaller than the Um Fruth Rock Bridge, but the bridge – and the views around it – are stunning.
We were no longer the only ones on “our route.” We had climbed through the canyon with a couple and their child and we now found ourselves on the bridge with them as well. The best comedic moment was when the husband warned the wife about going too far out on the ledge and she snapped at him to “stop talking and take more photos.”
Up next was my favorite stop of the day – the Lawrence House. The house itself is an unremarkable rectangular prism of stones, but the hiking around/above it is some of the best in Wadi Rum.
This was my favorite stop on our last trip as well because of the stone designs created by other visitors over the years. We looked for Chandler’s, but, unsurprisingly, after five years, it had either been knocked down or repurposed into someone else’s.
These are also just some of my favorite views of Wadi Rum – as I tried to capture below.
As you can probably see, my photos are getting hazier and hazier as the morning wore on – Jordan had been experiencing a collection of dust storms throughout the previous month and it was clear that one was coming our way.
We had only one more stop for the day (we had opted out of the family visit), and so we made our way to the much larger Um Fruth Rock Bridge. We lucked out and had the climb to ourselves.
By this point, we had to be careful – the wind was starting to get ferocious and the sand was whipping every which way. We didn’t spend much time at the top of the bridge, and after climbing back down, realized we needed to head back into town.
Our luggage was in the back seat of the truck, which meant that we had been riding around in the bed of the truck all day. While there was a covering to protect us from the sun, there was no protection from the sandstorm that had clearly settled in.
Below was our final view as we made our way out of Wadi Rum.
We may have needed to make a quick getaway from Wadi Rum, but we were still grateful to have been there the days that we were. As we drove away, we watched other people driving in the other direction – directly into the storm. Upon reflection, it seemed just fine that we wouldn’t be spending a second night at the camp.
However, we are so glad that we had the opportunity to go back (we almost never visit the same place twice!). But Wadi Rum is worth a multitude of visits. And it was awesome to have my sister there with us.